Friday 28 December 2012

Turkey Curry plus vegetarian option - all gluten free plus Paul Hollywood's Peshwari Naan Bread (not gluten free)

Turkey Curry

Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Curry)

You will need:

Thick-based saucepan – large-ish, depending on how much turkey you have.
Vegetable oil – 2 or 3 tablespoons to cover the base of the pan
3 large onions, chopped
2 cloves
2 cardamom pods
2 bay leaves
3 green chillies – finely chopped – you can take the seeds out if you prefer (I do)
1 clove of garlic – crushed
1-2 teaspoons of ground ginger
1-2 teaspoons Garam Masala
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon chilli powder
1 tin of chopped tomatoes (more if you have lots of turkey)
Cooked, left-over turkey. (You can use un-cooked meat, chicken for example, but cooking will take slightly longer.)

For the veggie version, use cubed butternut squash and sweet potato

Here’s what to do:

Heat the oil in the pan to a high temperature.
Add the chopped onions, cloves, cardamom and bay leaves and cook until golden.
Add the chopped chilies, garlic and ginger and cook until dark brown.
Make sure you keep stirring as the ginger will stick and burn if you are not careful.
Add the chopped tomatoes and Garam Masala, turmeric, salt and chilli powder and stir together for about 5 minutes.
Add the turkey (or cubed veg) and cook for another 10 minutes, keep stirring.
Check your seasoning and add more chilli if you like it hot, and maybe some salt, to suit your taste.
When you see the oil rising to the surface add a cup of hot water.
Stir then put the lid on and leave to simmer for 20-30 minutes (30-40 if you are using un-cooked meat, or even longer if you use lamb).
Stir occasionally during cooking.
Before serving, remove the cloves, bay leaves and cardamon pods.
Serve with rice – you can use fresh coriander for a garnish if you have any.
Also nice with a spoonful of yoghurt in the centre when you serve.

If you like Naan bread with your curry, why not try Paul Hollywood's recipe for Peshwari Naan? - click here - not gluten free I'm afraid.

Tuesday 25 December 2012

Quick Christmas Pud - HAPPY CHRISTMAS - Joy to the World

Happy Christmas

Photograph by Rachael Mott - thank you Rachael

John 1:14

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
(Click on the arrow to hear the music)

If you need a quick, Christmas Pudding, look no further - providing you have the ingredients you can make this in a jiffy.

5 x 5 x 5 x 5 Microwave Christmas Pud

For this quick and easy pud you will need a 1½ pint pudding basin, lightly greased. It also helps if you pop a circle of grease-proof paper into the base.

Your ingredients:

3 oz plain flour

1½ oz fresh breadcrumbs – brown are best

½ teaspoon ground mixed spice

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

3 oz Demerara sugar

3 oz dark brown sugar (if you have it, if not use the sugar you have)

12 oz mixed fruit (raisins, sultanas, cherries, currants, etc. Chopped apricots are nice too)

1½chopped nuts (optional)

1 small apple, peeled, cored and grated (or finely chopped)

Juice and grated rind of an orange

2 fl oz milk

3 oz butta (you can use margarine, but it won’t taste as nice)

2 oz plain chocolate – yes, chocolate – chopped

1 medium egg, beaten.

2 tablespoons brandy or rum

Here’s all you need to do:

Sieve the flour and spices into a bowl and stir in the breadcrumbs, sugar, dried fruit, nuts apple and orange rind.

In a small microwaveable bowl, put the chocolate, butta, milk and orange juice. Microwave on ‘de-frost’ for 2½ minutes, until it’s all melted.

Add the liquids to the dry ingredients and mix them all together. Add the beaten egg and brandy (or rum).

Spon it all into your prepared basin and cover with greaseproof paper.

Microwave on full power for 5 minutes. Leave to stand for 5 minutes, then microwave for 5 more minutes.

Turn out and leave to stand for 5 minutes before serving with your favourite sauce.

Monday 24 December 2012

Advent 24 - Christmas Eve - 1914 Christmas Truce - A Silent Night indeed

December 24th

Christmas Eve!

This is a photograph I took of a brilliant painting by Artist Soren Hawkes.
To see more of his fabulous work (which you can buy) go to:

John 1:1-5

The Word became flesh

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.  In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Click on the arrow to hear Hayley Westenra and Aled Jones sing Silent Night whilst you read the poem

Christmas Eve, 1914 - a silence covered the land as shelling and rifle-fire ceased. Singing was heard from the enemy trenches and a truce was enjoyed, when peace came down at Christmas.

A Photograph of the site today can be found at:

December 1914

Night turned a clear frost,

the moon’s harsh splendour

veiling the sleeping green.

Belonging to no-one

but those

whose eternal slumber

hopeless strewn

stilled the darkness


Torn fields fell silent,


and eerily still.

Anguished limbs cradled,

sore, weary bodies

resting on mud

and damp straw.

Wood from trees,

shelled and torn

kindled fires

slowly coaxed into life

on the eve of Christmas morn.

A mouth-organ rendered

a carolling tune.

Flames leapt higher

to warm

frost-fastened mud.

A combatant choir

merried the night

distant gunnery rumbles


served to remind.

A radiant host shone

beyond the sleeping green.

Glistening stars of light

danced along enemy lines.

Edging the trenches

with brightness, and then

in a language strange and deep

the singing of carols


the earlier refrain,

on the eve of Christmas morn.

Sleep was evasive,

in the frozen fields,

until darkness

slowly crumbled away.

In the mist-filled dawn

myriad lanterns

still sparkled and shone.

Then a greeting was called:

Frohe Weihnachten,

A Christmas Day wish

from the adversary.

Grey soldiers moved forward

their hands held no guns,

Maxims were muted,

calumet, quiet;

the fallen had been laid to rest

in the snow dusted earth.

Howitzers were hushed and calm.

Tommys walked out to welcome:

“Come and join our celebration,”

Peace was the holy day’s gift.

An unforeseen barrier

broken down

language of gesture was seen.

The Kaiser’s cigars

for tobacco exchanged.

A button, a belt badge,

offered in trust.

Princess Mary’s puddings

a Eucharist shared,

all around

cold gusts thrilled the air.

Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht,
Alles schläft; einsam wacht

Voices faded and fell back

behind the lines.

Da uns schlägt die rettende Stund
The hour of salvation strikes

for us.

Christ, der Retter ist da!
Christ, the saviour is here.

With gladness they moved,

to sleep soundly that night

gifts and souvenirs

held safe

in frozen hands.

Reminders of sharing

an armistice day;

Friede auf erden,

wohlwollen für alle menschen.

A Christmas Truce, indeed.

Sunday 23 December 2012

Advent 23 - The escape to Egypt - Chocolate, Yule logs and George Michael (oh and Rudolph)

December 23rd

What's unusual about Rudolph?
Matthew 2:13-15
The escape to Egypt
When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. ‘Get up,’ he said, ‘take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.’
So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘Out of Egypt I called my son.’
Joseph was given his message in a dream - if you would like to see this fabulous video and hear December Song (I dreamed of Christmas) please click on the arrow.
Something we dream of at Christmas (well I do) is the chocolate Yule log - OK, so a Yule log was  a large and very hard log which is burned as a part of traditional Christmas celebrations in several European cultures. The expression Yule log has also come to refer to log-shaped Christmas cakes, also known as chocolate logs or Bûche de Noël. To find out more about Yule logs, click here

The first mention of the Yule log in Britain is a written account by the clergyman Robert Herrick, from the 1620s or 1630s. Herrick called the tradition a "Christmas log" and said that it was brought into the farmhouse by a group of males, who were then rewarded with free beer from the farmer's wife.

Bite-sized chocolate logs
Turn your oven on to gas 6, 400F/200C – that’s a hot oven.
Next you need to grease Swiss-roll tin – that’s a shallow tin, 13 inches x 9 inches (or 33 cm x 23 cm if you are metric). Line the bottom with grease-proof paper or baking parchment.
For the logs you will need:
6 medium, free-range eggs – separate the yolks from the whites.  Whisk the whites in another bowl until they are firm stand up - and won’t fall out if you tip it upside-down over your head.
6 oz caster sugar (that’s 175 gm)
6 tablespoons of cocoa powder – sifted
1 oz plain flour (that’s 25 gm) – sifted.
Half-a-pint (10 fl oz) double cream (that’s 300 ml) – whip it until stiff.
In a large bowl whisk the egg yolks and caster sugar together really well until they are thick and creamy. Then add the sifted cocoa powder – it’s best to sieve this again into your bowl to get more air into the mix. Gently fold the cocoa into the mixture. Next, fold in the whisked egg-whites followed by the sifted flour.
Pour the mixture into the Swiss-roll tin and pop into the oven for 15 minutes. When it’s done (it will be well-risen and firm to the touch) remove from the oven and cover with a clean, damp tea-towel and leave it to go cold.
Cut the sponge into six even rectangles (it’s easiest to cut it down the middle lengthwise then across evenly twice).  Spread each strip with the cream and roll-up into logs, leaving the paper behind.  If you would like a large log which you can slice, just don't cut it up; spread it with cream and roll it up.
You can then either melt chocolate to pour over them or cover them with chocolate butter icing.  Should you choose the icing, you will need to put into a bowl:
6 oz (that’s 175 gm) sifted icing sugar
8 oz (that’s 225 gm) softened butter (room temperature is fine)
2 tablespoons sifted cocoa powder
Mix them all together and spread over the logs.  You can dust them with icing sugar to give the snow-effect.
And here are the six little beauties - they won't last long!
And the unusual thing about Rudolph? He must have been a girl as the The only female deer with antlers are reindeer.

Saturday 22 December 2012

Advent 22 - Poetry: Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh - Soup and nibbles

December 22nd

Matthew 2:10-12

When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshipped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.  And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.
Click on the arrow to hear a great Christmas Carol


 Are you ready?  Only a few days of Advent left - how prepared are we?  Well, it started me thinking about how prepared everyone was for that night in Bethlehem over 2,000 years ago, which, if it hadn't happened, we wouldn't be celebrating Natalis Domini or Christ's Mass (see yesterday's blog) now.  So, I have written a poem.  Whilst you are reading and enjoying the music you may like some soup from our soup recipe range, or nibbles from our nibbles recipe range.
Are we ready?

Are we ready,

              for the day when it comes?

Have we done

                all we can, to prepare?

We’ve shopped till we’ve dropped,

     baked, wrapped and packed,

             posted our greetings to family and friends.

Baubles glowing, tinsel flowing,

            lights twinkling in the night.

Everyone waiting.


The joy of a gift – will it be all right?

Were they ready,

                    for the day when it came?

To be sent by a king, to find -

                                        a child with lineage divine.

Balthasar from Arabia came;

              Melchior’s Persian perfume.

                          Gaspar brought oil from India’s land,

               they travelled from homelands so far.                          

Each one waiting.


Knelt in homage – guided by a star.

 Were they ready,

                  for the day when it came?

Afraid and astounded,

                      with wonder and awe,

To be chosen,

                    as poor as they were.

Heralding messengers gave wonderful news,

                                       to find the King of the Jews  

                                             a promise, no longer concealed.

Each one waiting.


God’s glory – to them revealed.

Was she ready,

                for the day when it came?

One girl chosen,

                     unmarried, betrothed,

                                 and obediently took on the load.

Of David’s descent,

                     to Bethlehem sent

                                         but for Mary there wasn’t a bed .

A journey so far,

                     their guide: a star.

Both of them waiting.


The birth of a child – in a humble cattle-shed.


Are we ready,

              for the day when it comes?

Have we done all we can,

                             to prepare?

In the beginning was the word,

                           and the word became flesh -

                                           salvation in a lowly stall.

Like temple sheep then

                          sacrificial rights end.

Now we are waiting.


The joy of God’s gift – the best gift of all.

Friday 21 December 2012

Advent 21 - King Herod gets the Moody Blues - and a Boozy Coffee Cake

December 21st

 Winter Solstice

Matthew 2:3-9
When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.  When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born.  ‘In Bethlehem in Judea,’ they replied, ‘for this is what the prophet has written:
‘“But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.”
Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, ‘Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.’
After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was.
Click on the arrow to hear the Moody Blues

Christmas, Natalis Domini

 Father Christmas riding a Yuletide goat
Advent 21 is also the winter solstice and shortest day and sometimes called mid-winter. So to help you through those winter (moody) blues here's a recipe for a really boozy cake:

Boozy Coffee Cake

Grease and flour an 8-inch (20 cm) cake tin, spring-form is good, or one with a loose bottom.    Pre-heat the oven to 350F.

For the cake:
4oz butter
4oz golden caster sugar
2 eggs, beaten
4oz self-raising flour

For the syrup:
150ml strong black coffee (Camp coffee works well)
4oz sugar (granulated is fine)
4 tablespoons whisky

To serve:
150ml double or whipping cream or ice cream
1 tablespoon of whisky

For the cake:
Beat together the butter and sugar until the mix is light and fluffy.  
Add the eggs and flour.   
Put the mix into the greased tin and bake for around 20 minutes - until the cake springs back when pressed. 
Leave it to cool on a wire rack.

To make the syrup.
Put the coffee and sugar into a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Keep stirring until all the sugar has dissolved. Boil for an extra minute then remove it from the heat and add the Whisky.

Put the cooled cake onto a deep plate and pour over the coffee/whisky syrup.
Leave it in a cool place to soak up the syrup - overnight is good.

Just before serving, whip the cream and add 1 tablespoon of whisky and stir through.

Put the cake onto the dish you are going to serve it on, and serve with cream or ice cream.